by BERNAMA / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
KUALA LUMPUR – The ringgit opened lower against the US dollar today on firmer buying support for the greenback, backed by better United States (US) economic and employment data, an analyst said.
At 9 am, the local note fell to 4.1970/2000 versus the greenback from 4.1935/1980 at Thursday’s close.
In line with the positive data, Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd chief economist Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid noted that the US Dollar Index (DXY) also continued to march higher to 97.221 points.
“The final quarter US gross domestic product (GDP) came in at 6.9 per cent growth against consensus estimates of 5.5 per cent. Similarly, the Initial Jobless Claims, a gauge for labour market is also flashing a good sign with readings at 260,000,” he told Bernama.
Hence, he said the reading indicates that fewer Americans applied for the unemployment benefits last week compared to 286,000 the previous week.
Despite that, he believes the ringgit should be well supported at the current level, given that Brent crude price is currently at US$90 per barrel.
“Such level suggests that the government would have means to maintain its expansionary fiscal policy which can be positive for economic growth,” he said.
As such, Mohd Afzanizam expects the domestic note versus the US dolar to hover around RM4.19-RM4.20.
Meanwhile, the ringgit was traded higher against a basket of other major currencies.
It increased against the Singapore dollar to 3.1015/1042 from 3.1040/1076 at yesterday’s close and advanced versus the euro at 4.6776/6809 compared with 4.6946/6997.
The domestic unit firmed against the British pound to 5.6202/6242 from 5.6306/6367 and rose vis-a-vis the Japanese yen to 3.6350/6376 from 3.6462/6501 previously.